With the debut of the None of the Above (NOTA) option in electronic voting machines in the upcoming general elections, one can expect more youths to queue up to cast their vote. But they feel there should also be a scope to recall candidates.
The decision to have an option enabling voters to not vote for any of the candidates became possible last September. This option seems to have convinced the youth — an important voter category seen as disinterested in politics — to cast their vote, rather than stay back at home and enjoy an additional day off.
“NOTA is a way of expressing our agitation against politics. For those unwilling to identify with any particular party or candidate, it is the most appropriate alternative so that our voices are heard,” said Eshita Kundu, an M.Phil scholar. “At least we can register our disillusionment with the system,” said Ms. Kundu.
However, many feel there is a long way to go. “NOTA does not explain why a voter is not choosing any of the above candidates. Also, it will not push political parties to field better candidates,” Ms. Kundu felt. In the event of NOTA getting the majority of votes, the candidate getting the second highest share of votes will be declared the winner. However, some see the provision as defeating the entire purpose. “In the present political scenario, where the ruling party is often acting like its predecessor, NOTA is perhaps the best among the worst options,” said first-time voter Prama Mukhopadhyay.
More options needed
“Currently, NOTA is a viable option, but not a solution. People need to be aware of their rights and demand more changes. We should be equipped with options like the right to recall,” said ex-student of Presidency College Madhurima Ghosh.